Food in Blu’s Hanging

I have noticed the prevalence of food in many of the books I have recently read. In some cases, it is the most obvious topic of the novel, as in Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games. In Blu’s Hanging by Lois food is an underlying theme. This novel seems to recognize that food is the source of life; the three main characters each interact with it.

The children in Blu’s Hanging use food as a source of comfort after their mother’s death. Perhaps they subconsciously connect the life that food brings with the life of their mother. The brother, Blu, reacts with food by over consuming it. He eats until “he feels sick and full” (12). It leaves him with a numb feeling that helps him cope. Ivah, the oldest sister of the family, is put in charge of feeding the family after her mother’s death. Finally, Maisie, the youngest sibling, has stopped talking to people as a reaction to the death of her mother. It takes a Betty Crocker cake box for her to talk. Her teacher asks her to read it out loud and surprisingly she does. Perhaps it is the food that gives her enough comfort with the situation to read aloud to other people.

It also seems that types of food that the family eats improve as the novel progress. In the beginning their main source of nutrition is mayonnaise bread. They still eat food that is cheap as the novel progresses; however, Ivah gets more resourceful with the food she cooks which allows the family to eat a variety of foods. Perhaps this symbolizes their gradual relinquishing of grief for their mothers death.

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